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Fire Safety for Bars and Nightclubs.

Tips to stay safe, while out at nightclubs and bars.


At least 231 people were killed in a recent nightclub fire in Southern Brazil. The fire, reportedly started by on stage pyrotechnics, produced fire and smoke that immediately overcame many of the party goers. 

It is common at nightclubs in Brazil for patrons to accumulate a bar tab throughout the evening; this tab is then paid as a condition of exit from the club. Brazilian media are also reporting that some of the exit doors at the now destroyed Kiss Nightclub were locked at the time the fire started. 

Many of the club patrons were students at local schools and universities, a similar demographic to those who attend nightclubs in the United States and Portland; the youth and health that is often associated with this demographic provides no security or advantage over the rapid spread and potency of the asphyxiating smoke and gasses that accompany such fires. 

Many of the most deadly fires in recent years have been at nightclubs. A 2009 fire at a club in Perm, Russia killed 152; in 2004 a similar fire in Argentina killed 194, a Christmas day fire at a nightclub fire in Luoyang, China killed 309. 

Acoustic treatments, common in concert halls, can be highly flammable and contribute to the instant and lethal spread of fire and smoke. A 2003 fire at the Station nightclub in Rhode Island killed one hundred people. The fire was started by pyrotechnics that ignited soundproofing. Inhalation and asphyxiation caused the death of many of the concert attendees who were unable to escape the smoke and blaze through limited and insufficient exits. The band manager and nightclub owners were each found guilty of 100 counts of manslaughter; each was sentenced to 15 years in prison. 

Limited or poorly marked exits, in addition to widespread panic, often result in a stampede of those trying to escape these conflagrations. Many are trampled and injured upon reaching exit doors. 

Portland Fire & Rescue places a great emphasis on the safety of nightclubs in Portland. A multi-tiered approach, including progressive code setting, inspections, and code enforcement, has contributed greatly to the safety of visitors to Portland's nightclubs and concert venues. 

Patrons of nightclubs and other gathering places can also protect themselves: 

-Before entering a building look to see if the occupancy makes you feel safe and comfortable. 
-Be certain that doors open outward and exits are clear. 
-When you enter, look for all available exits, most attempt to exit from the same place they entered when another exit is often closer and less crowded. 
-If you feel unsafe, leave immediately, and report unsafe conditions to Portland Fire & Rescue. Fire Code and Inspection questions can be answered by calling (503) 823-3700

In the event of an emergency exit immediately through the NEAREST exit, GET OUT and STAY OUT. Meet your group at a prearranged location and NEVER reenter a hazardous environment. 

Portland Fire & Rescue sends our condolences to those lost in Brazilian nightclub fire. With hard work and diligence, Portland Fire & Rescue, and our customers, can prevent such a tragedy from ever taking place in Portland. 

Portland Fire & Rescue Responds to Residential Fire

Residential Fire (2323 SE 137th Ave.)

Firefighters were dispatched to chimney fire at 3:48 this afternoon (2323 SE 137Th ave). By the time they arrived the fire had spread into the attic. Station 7 (Mill Park) quickly verified that all occupants were accounted for and sent crews inside to contain the fire. Truck 7 also went to the roof to help ventilate the home. Engine 29 (Gilbert),Engine 31 (Rockwood), and Engine 11 (Lents) also responded.

The fire was contained to the attic and was quickly extinguished by firefighters. No one was injured during this incident and a damage estimate is forthcoming.

Portland Fire & Rescue would like to remind all that your chimney should be cleaned at least once a year. It take only a small accumulation of creosote glazing to create the potential for a chimney fire. Different types of wood create different amounts of creosote when burned. Pine causes a rapid build-up of creosote and should be avoided as a regular source of wood. Creosote can also reduce the draw of the fireplace and reduce efficiency.

Photos courtesy of Dick Harris (PF&R)

Portland Fire & Rescue Responds to Morning Apartment Fire

Portland Fire & Rescue Responds to Morning Apartment Fire (7017 NE 27th Ave.)

Fire crews were dispatched to an apartment fire at 9:52AM (7017 NE 27Th ave). Station 14 (Alberta Park) arrived to the Dekum Court Apartments and found that a second floor unit was quickly filling up with black smoke. Firefighters made entry and extinguished the fire which started in a closet located in a hallway. Station 8 (Kenton), Station 28 (Rose City) and Station 2 (Parkrose) also responded and assisted with evacuation, obtaining a water supply, and laddering the roof for ventilation.

No one was home at the time of the incident and there were no injuries. Smoke alarms alerted a neighbor and she quickly called 911. "We could hear the alarms way before we could smell anything burning." said the neighbor.  Investigators were called to the scene to determine the fires cause and to estimate damage.

This fire was caused by a candle that was left unattended. Damages were estimated at $125,000 to the building and $25,000 to the contents of the unit.

*On average, 42 home candle fires are reported every day *One-half of home candle fire deaths occur between Midnight and 6 am *Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires *Falling asleep is a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 36% of the associated deaths

PORTLAND FIRE & RESCUE RESPONDS TO MULTIPLE HIGH VOLTAGE POWER LINES DOWN

PORTLAND FIRE & RESCUE RESPONDS TO MULTIPLE HIGH VOLTAGE POWER LINES DOWN

This morning at 11:17 am Portland Fire & Rescue responded to the report of a fire in a transient camp. When firefighters arrived they found that the fire had damaged a guy-wire that braced a pole supporting high voltage power lines. The guy-wire snapped and the pole fell taking the lines and several other poles down with it. This caused a local power outage. No one was found in the transient camp when firefighters arrived.

The power lines fell on to several cars, causing damage to the vehicles and making it impossible for people to access their cars until the lines could be de-energized. The damage caused the power lines to hang low over the railroad tracks making it impossible for trains to pass. In addition to those issues, a large amount of transformer fluid leaked when the poles fell.

PP&L was called to handle the power issue and Portland's HazMat team was called to take care of the transformer fluid leak. When fire units cleared PP&L was working to fix the electrical issue and rail traffic was still unable to pass. No injuries were reported in association with this incident.

PORTLAND FIRE & RESCUE RESPONDS TO A RESIDENTIAL FIRE (4812 SE 43RD AVE.)

PORTLAND FIRE & RESCUE RESPONDS TO A RESIDENTIAL FIRE (4812 SE 43RD AVE.)

This afternoon at 1:13 pm firefighters were called to a house at 4812 SE 43rd Ave. The homeowner returned from an outing to find smoke coming from the back windows. Firefighters from Station 25 (Woodstock) arrived to find a kitchen fire. The occupants remained safely outside.

The fire was quickly extinguished and fire investigators were called to the scene. No injuries were associated with this fire. Investigators have determined that this fire was caused by an appliance failure. Damages are estimated at $125,000.

Portland Fire & Rescue would like to remind residents to turn off appliances when leaving the house.